9 days Guilin and Guizhou minority tour with Li River cruise
Step into Guilin city, where your journey to explore several Chinese ethnic minorities will begin. After a short sightseeing in Guilin, which is famous for rivers and hills; travel by bicycle through Yangshuo. Mixed with countryside home visits, learn about the custom and culture of Zhuang, Yao, Dong and Miao. Four well know Chinese minorities, which will be unveiled and explained for your coming.
Your local guide and driver will meet you upon your arrival in Guilin. They will help you reach your hotel. Once checked in you can rest up or explore the neighborhood with your guide's help or on your own.
Start your trip with a relaxing 4-hour cruise along the Li River from Guilin to Yangshuo. This section winds through what is considered the most beautiful section of the river, so have your cameras ready. While you may think 4 hours is a short time, it covers all the highlights of the from beautiful waters to the majestic mountains. You will have lunch on board.
Upon arrival Yangshuo, be picked up and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon you could choose to ride bicycle/bamboo rafting to enjoy the nice countryside views along the Yulong river also as well the rural life in China, you will have a chance to visit local family during the tour. Overnight at Yangshuo.
Another morning in Yangshuo we gonna suggest you hike at the lower reaches of Yulong river. If you don’t want to hike, then we can arrange you to have a visit to 800-year-old town -Fuli old town which is only 8km from Yangshuo town and is very famous for the typical colorful fans and scroll paintings. Stroll around the ancient town and enjoy the beautiful Li river landscape.
In the afternoon drive about 40 minutes to visit Xianggong hill (Husband Mountain), it takes about 15 minutes to the top of the hill where you will be amazed by the breathtaking view of Li River and the surrounded Karst mountain peaks.
Then head to Longji Rice Terraces for the splendid rice terraces and local ethnic minority villages, the drive takes roughly 3 hours, on the way enjoy the nice mountain range views. Overnight at Ping’an village.
Longsheng, home to some of the most spectacular terraced rice patties in all of China. The highlight and perhaps most famous of all is Longji Rice Terraces which translates into the "Dragon's Backbone". When you stand on the top of the dragon and look down on the fields below you can clearly see the dragon's backbone twisting off into the distance. An image not soon to be forgotten and a testament to the Chinese farmer.
From nature to culture as you head from Longsheng into Pingan Village. Pingan is home of Zhuang Minority and the Zhuang Minority still keeps their traditional dress and language to this day. You will find that the Zhuang people are very different from Han Chinese.
Spend the whole day to hike around at the Ping’an village to enjoy the rice terraces views and visit local minority villages. There are several hiking trails that you can choose depending on your physical condition, it could last from 1 hour up to 5 hours. So just tell your guide what you want, then he can recommend you the options. Spending the night in Pingan Village is a high point of the trip and provides an opportunity to learn and talk with locals in a more relaxed environment.
Drive to Sanjing to visit Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge. This unique footbridge is a combination of several Chinese architectural elements all fused into one. It is traditionally explained as painting, bridge, corridor, veranda, and Chinese pavilion, all in one; confused yet? It is unique! New by Chinese standards having only been built-in 1916. Made of stone, wood and tile, a great sample of old-fashioned construction in old China.
Next head to the Mapang Drum Tower, of all the remaining drum towers of the Dong People this maintains the highest importance. It is located within the countryside near its namesake Mapang Village. Sadly the original Mapang Drum Tower built during the Qing Dynasty has been damaged but due to its' importance has been rebuilt, most recently in 1943.
In the afternoon, drive about 3.5 hours to Zhaoxing. Here you will visit the Tang'an Dong Village, located about 6 km. (4 mi.) east of Zhaoxing, which was completed during the Qing Dynasty. It is different from the other Dong Villages you will have experienced so far. The difference will be highlighted by your guide but perhaps better seen with your own eyes from an aerial view showing the different roof shapes as each structure is different. Overnight at Zhaoxing.
Visit one of the oldest villages in Guizhou to start your day off. Zhaoxing Dong Village is not only one of the oldest but also one of the largest villages. As an important Dong Village, it supports more 800 households and over 4,000 inhabitants. Residents here still practice their ancestors' traditional culture by living in a traditional house, wearing home-made clothes along with singing and dancing just as their parents' parents have done for centuries.
After the visiting of Dong Village, drive about 1.5 hours to Congjiang, where you will visit the Basha Miao Minority Village. The Basha Miao Village keeps the full style of Miao culture that flourished during the Ming or Qing Dynasties. A stop here will help transport you back a few hundred years into a time and place that once was. When ready you will set off for a 2-hour driving to Rongjiang, where you will overnight.
Travel to Dali Dong People's village after breakfast which is 23 km. (14 mi.) from Rongjiang. Here you will notice the Dong drum tower rising majestically out of a sea of tiled roofs below in the valley. You cannot take enough photos to record this unique piece of scenery.
After, you will arrive at Leishan comfortably traveling for about 2 hours in your private car. Once settled you will view two interesting and contrasting Villages. The first being - Datang Short Skirt Village and the second Langde Long Skirt Village. Just as the names imply, women and girls wear mini-skirt in Datang Village all around the years and long skirt in Langde Village all the seasons. Both villages are part of the Miao Minority group. All their clothing is extremely beautiful and attractive. Then drive about 2 hours to reach Kaili where you will rest for the night.
Kaili is the capital city of Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. In the morning, you will visit the Shiqiao Miao Village and learn the traditional way of making paper. Kaili is the largest paper-making site within China. They have the most complete and traditional paper-making process. All the steps are well preserved and allow you to learn about a technology that helped change the entire world
After concluding your time at the papermaking, you will visit a village full of tradition where roads are still made from bluestone, home is on wooden stilts and the Miao Minority Group residents dress in their traditional clothing with pure silver headdresses. The name, for those keeping track, is the Qingman Long Skirt Miao Minority Village, it is filled with hundreds of years' history, just waiting for your arrival.
The next stop is far from the Miao Villages as you head into Guiyang. The capital city of Guizhou Province. Reflect on the past weeks' experiences and observations with your guide and ask questions, to help ensure you have captured all you desire. Your friends and family will want to hear all the details.
Today your guide and driver will drive you safely to Guiyang Airport for departure. If you plan to visit another city in China, WindhorseTour is experts in China multi-city trips and here to help, no obligation and never any pressure.